Will Smith is set to produce and star in Brilliance, the narrative feature directorial debut of filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. The most recent winner of the Oscar for best documentary short, Saving Face and A Girl in the River, Marvel Studios series Ms.
The author’s first novel has been acquired by Paramount Pictures for the TV series Marvel on Disney+, which means it is set to become a Netflix original. Smith isn’t attached to star in the production, which would be his first for Paramount since 2019’s Gemini Man. The project has been in development since 2014.
Smith and Akiva Goldsman’s screenplay is a passion project for Smith, who wrote I, Robot, I Am Legend, and Hancock. Obaid-Chinoy’s movie would be Smith’s first to go into production since he hit Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars ten years ago, resulting in a decade-long ban from the Academy.
Deadline describes Brilliance: “If 1% of the world’s children were born with powerful gifts, how would society adapt to them? The Brilliance novel trilogy is set in a future where non-neurotypical people — demonized by society as ‘twists’ or ‘abnorms’ — are threatening the status quo of the ‘normal’ population with their unique gifts. They are officially labeled as ‘Brilliants’ and are carefully tracked by the government.”
Should Smith sign on to star, he would play Department of Analysis and Response Agent Nick Cooper, tasked with tracking down and terminate criminal abnorms who use their powers for ill, according to Deadline. “The agent is himself an abnorm, with a gift for predictive analysis that allows him to see what will happen before it happens and react preemptively. He is also the father of a Brilliant daughter.
“As he infiltrates a radical group of Brilliants who plan to incite a civil war, he uses his own gifts against his Brilliant enemies, like an assassin who perceives time faster than his opponents. When Cooper is ordered to hunt down John Smith — the country’s most elusive and most dangerous abnorm — everything Cooper believes in will be called into question. As one of the abnorms he’s hunting tells him, ‘You can’t stop the future. All you can do is pick a side.'”
Smith next stars as a runaway slave in Apple TV+ thriller Emancipation from Antoine Fuqua, which finished production before Smith’s infamous Oscars incident. Apple will reportedly release that film in December or early 2023. It was previously reported the Chris Rock smack jeopardized a planned biopic about the mega-star actor and rapper; in April, Netflix backed away from Fast and Loose, a Smith-led crime-drama that would have reunited him with the Bright streamer.
Timothy is a senior writer based in Atlanta, specializing in celebrity-related news. She is always ready to cover trending TV stories with an unbiased perspective and a pinch of gossip.